Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Potluck: Chicago, Day 1

Today was the beginning of Potluck: Chicago. If you aren't sure what this is here is a link where I explained it in a past post.

We started the day out at the Hull-House Museum where Critical Encounter residents, Motiroti, the members of the departments of Asian studies, African American studies, and Latin American and Latino studies (at UIC), and immigrant activists gathered to enjoy a breakfast provided by The Hull-House Museum. There were a mix of many foods like empanadas, apricot preserves, cornbread, marinated tofu, honey butter, tarts...some were old recipes that the Hull-House used to serve in the Dining Hall.

The Hull-House was "a place where immigrants of diverse communities gathered to learn, eat, debate and acquire tools necessary to put down roots in their new country." It was started with Jane Addams and her friend Ellen Gates in 1889 in Chicago's West side. Jane Addams believed that nutrition and food security would lead to more peaceful communities. There were 13 buildings with a public kitchen, baths, playground, and many activities such as sewing, cooking, kindergarden and day care facilities for working mothers, an art gallery, libraries, English and citizenship classes, theater, music, and art classes. Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

It was amazing to come together in the Dining Hall just as so many others had done in the past.

This was one table of food at the breakfast, there was one more!

My plate of goodies. Amazing cornbread, a potato and grain bread that they use to make at the Hull House along with apricot preserves (oddly enough my favorite thing on my plate!), marinated tofu, and I tried the honey butter. They had whipped honey and butter together...what an amazing combo! I'm excited to try it with my vegan butter.

After eating, the Critical Encounters group was given handheld video camera things I had never seen before and we were asked to video people answering these four questions.

-What do you think you give to the City?

-What do you think the City gives back to you?

-What are the areas where the City fails you?

-If there were one wish about the City you'd want to see realized, what would it be?

So many people said the city gives them a beautiful diversity where they can learn from so many different cultures. Many said Chicago fails them by not giving equal opportunities to all areas of Chicago.

It was a beautiful breakfast with so many different voices. I have never been a part of something so huge, I could feel the amazing energy and joy in the room!

After that we went back to Columbia College for a Workshop where we did exercises to learn about one another and what we could bring to Potluck: Chicago. One of the exercises consisted of going around the room talking to each person for a few minutes trying to learn something about one another, once we figured out a skill of the person we were speaking to we would put a post it with that skill on the person. In the end, we all had about 15-25 post-its on us. We then put the post-its with the skills we could use for Potluck: Chicago in a drawn circle.

Another exercise was to work with someone we had not really gotten to know yet and make a life line with the positives times above the line and the negative times below the line. We would then share our life with our partner and they would present it to the group. It was a very healing exercise for me where I was able to realize the struggles throughout my life and how I am finally at a really great place in my life. It also made us see that we all have had equal amounts of struggles and joys and we should never assume someone has had it better or worse. Ali (from Motiroti) had said that when he did this the first time he was worried the person telling his story would get parts wrong but then he realized "does it matter if they got it right or not?" We are here in result of our past and it has made us who we are. The past is not something to hold onto so strongly.

Our last exercise was to write down our wish for Chicago on a piece of paper then we folded the paper into a boat and dropped it onto the lake.

Tomorrow we will meet again for a workshop and then at 6pm to 9pm we will have a stone soup and I really hope you will come. It is at Columbia College Chicago at 1104 S. Wabash, Conaway Center. You are welcomed to bring something to contribute to the vegan based soup!

o! and here is proof of a bit of my volunteer work at the Glenwood Winter Sunday Market...I realize I didn't write "winter"...hmmm, well I know I did on the other signs! I helped unload the trucks with the vendors tables and foods, then greeted everyone at the door and informed them about the upcoming fundraiser for the market. Then I helped get everyones things back in the truck when it was all done. A really great day. I bought some local maple syrup that is really amazing. And I was accepted for the winter craft fair alongside the market on December 11. I can't wait!


  1. Kim I'm so excited for you and for me to get to read all of your delightful posts about Potluck. Your blog is fantastic, keep it up!

  2. How about this for a design for a wall painting, in the tried-and-true Art Nouveau style?: http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWN3L, by the famous English artist, Audrey Beardsley himself. You can also order a canvas print of the picture from wahooart.com.